FSF Challenge – Taneli Rantala
Taneli Rantala – Bikram Yoga Teacher, Coach & Partner at Lifted.fi, Strategy Consultant
I decided to put the products of Four Sigma Foods to a real test. Ahead of me I had notoriously intensive Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. 9 weeks of hot and hard yoga classes, tons of studying and ridiculously long hours daily. My plan was to get the absolute most out of the training, grow physically and cognitively, and at the end become one of the first Bikram teachers in Finland (actually the first male teacher!).
My interest in physical performance started from an early age playing various team sports. However, perhaps I was too young to realize the interdependencies of my body, my actions, and even further – my mind. It was all about hard training and pasta. Later I finally found out the significant role of nutrition and body maintenance, and lifted my body to another level. I got rid of gluten and dairy in my diet and started to take care of my body also between the training sessions. Soon after I took another step and started my great passion, yoga. I started with Ashtanga and moved to Bikram. I’m not yet the most experienced practitioner, but I’m on the path and enjoying it, the end will never be reached – yoga you don’t do, yoga you try. Finally my deep interest in the development of the body and mind led me and two of my friends to establish Lifted.fi, a concept designed to share our passion for physical and mental wellness to others by inspiring and coaching them to reach higher quality of life holistically.
Now back to the challenge! I decided to stick to my normal diet, which has already been developed over the years to fit my body. To simplify a lot, I am talking about paleo with superfood kick! I was introduced to superfoods about 6 years ago by a friend and afterwards have been enjoying the results of them pretty much daily. I like to think there is always some “tweaking” to do in my diet, and therefore I read a lot of books, reviews, recommendations and scientific researches to perfect my intake. However, the last test is always my own body, that’s what I know the best and therefore trust. Trial and error, trial and success! What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for me, but then again the other stuff might.
When it came down of choosing one product from FSF’s great portfolio, I chose Cordyceps! I believed it would smoothen my path through training, because of its promised effects on both physical and mental performance. To be honest I was more familiar with FSF’s other Instants and was quite pleased with the results, but true effects of Cordyceps remained to be unknown until the challenge started.
First sip of Cordyceps – and yes, it was tasty! Well thought combination of flavors creates a slightly sweet, but fresh taste making the mixing of the product to any meal or drink child’s play! Mainly because of the tight schedule and limited cooking utilities I ended up mixing most of my sachets to hot water, sometimes using tea bags to add some flavor variations or reach more wanted benefits. For example ginger tea seemed to work magic with Cordyceps. My other favorite is definitely to mix Cordyceps in a morning smoothie.
Flavor of Cordyceps is honestly good, but benefits of it are something to crave for. I started the training without Cordyceps, and only added it to my diet on the 4th week, so I could spot the changes in my body and mind more precisely. Even though I boosted my energy up also with other superfoods and two Bikram classes a day, I made sure that starting Cordyceps was the only drastic change in my daily habits during the whole training. Well, at the end I resulted boosting my energy levels through the roof. Yes, even though exhaustion and sleep deprivation were promised to be inevitable. Most of the credit will go to yoga, but I also have to thank Cordyceps. Starting from week 4 I managed to defeat those problems with one hand, a sachet in my hand! Cordyceps gave me constant energy without raising any significant peaks in energy levels – a very important thing when practicing yoga, as you do not want to raise the energy levels too high during a yoga class.
Another also widely known and researched effect of Cordyceps is the increase in one’s maximal oxygen intake. I’m not certain if I just got used to the thick air in the hot classes, but somehow during 4th or 5th week I got rid of the unnecessary gasping and concentrated on Concentration! By what percent did I increase my intake? –I’d guess 7,41% approximately. Some researches promise as high as 15 %!
Honestly the biggest benefit I experienced was the effects on my recovery. And of these I can be very certain. Doing 11 classes a week, totally almost 100 classes during the 9 weeks without sufficient sleep, was sure to cause great fatigue to the muscles. In Bikram Yoga, especially to back and leg muscles. I managed quite nicely with my back, but the legs, oh boy those legs. Doing Utkatasanas and Trikanasanas all day long causes some pain and exhaustion to your legs without a doubt. In the first two weeks I was hoping I would get use to it. Next two weeks I realized I wouldn’t. I tried to raise my legs up every single small break we got, but nothing would really help me. In the 4th week I started Cordyceps, and on the middle of that week something changed. During the times between the classes I felt no chronic fatigue on my thighs or calves – I had no urge to raise my legs up to the ceiling. In the class I felt I got a small pinch of extra energy in some postures. Cordyceps really helped my body to recover faster, more efficiently, raising my capability to perform better in each class and most importantly my capability to enjoy my daily life even more.
Cordyceps is also claimed to improve brain function. I personally can’t identify this benefit on its own, but the effect on my energy levels most definitely affected my brain function positively. The course was actually quite challenging cognitively with massive amounts of studying and memorization – whether I survived it as a result from the ‘boost’ I gained from Cordyceps or with my regular (massive) brain function, remains to be solved.
One of the things I enjoyed about Cordyceps was that I could use it whenever I had time or the possibility for it. I could have a cup of it first in the morning or last thing at night, before the yoga class or after the yoga class, without any negative effects, just benefits from dust to dawn.
All together Cordyceps positively surprised me. The benefits of the product were something I really didn’t expect. After the training I’ve continued to enjoy the taste and benefits of Cordyceps, I’ve just dropped the usage from a heaping 3 sachets a day to the occasional usage – whenever I need to boost my performance I put Cordyceps to another test!
Shroomy greetings my friends!